Estate Planning Lawyer Chandler, AZ
If your divorce has been finalized, then there’s an important task that you must perform as soon as possible, with help from an estate planning lawyer Chandler, AZ residents turn to from the Citadel Law Firm, PLLC. Unless you want your ex to be listed in your estate plan and risk them getting your assets, then you will have to make changes immediately. In general, you will likely be spending most of your time acclimating to your newly single life. But it is imperative not to set aside the legal challenges associated with your current situation quite yet. It can be tempting to think that once your divorce has been finalized, your legal challenges related to your marital status are complete.
However, there are numerous tasks one must undertake in the wake of a divorce in order to make sure all legal obligations and ties have been properly addressed. Once you work with an experienced estate planning lawyer Chandler, AZ families trust to complete these tasks, you will be able to breathe easier and gain considerable peace of mind due to the fact that the legal side of your divorce process is finally complete.
Legal Steps to Take Post-Divorce
One of the most important post-divorce steps you can take is ensuring that your financial accounts are no longer shared in any way with your former spouse. Similarly, your insurance policies need to be updated and any other intangible financial assets (like retirement accounts) need to be legally separated as well. If you have questions about how to go about checking the status of all your accounts, please ask us at the Citadel Law Firm, PLLC.
Have you updated your estate plan yet? Unless you want your former spouse to inherit your property, it is time to work with your attorney to update your estate plan and your beneficiary designations on all other relevant accounts. Similarly, if you have yet to change your account names and/or passwords on all of your digital accounts, do so now. Even if your former spouse has no history of snooping in your digital accounts, safeguarding these assets in this way is a good idea. Thankfully, an experienced estate planning lawyer Chandler, AZ community members trust can help you accomplish this goal.
If you have minor children, make sure to let their school, school district, physician and activity directors know that you and their other parent now have different contact information. Let them know that you would BOTH like to be informed about your child and should both be placed on all mailing lists, contact pages, etc. It is easy for one parent to be left “out of the loop” unless each relevant person/organization is contacted separately. Please also let relevant parties know if your child custody arrangement has any special terms that they should know about.
Legal Guidance Is Available
If you have questions about legal steps you should be taking in the wake of a finalized divorce, please do not hesitate to connect with a member of our legal team today. Your divorce may be over, but that does not mean that all of your legal and financial ties have been severed in important ways. Having an experienced attorney “double-check” to make sure everything is in order can save you considerable time, money and stress down the road. Please consider calling the legal team at Citadel Law Firm PLLC today, as we would be happy to help you through this process. We look forward to speaking with you.
Estate Planning and Retirement After the Divorce Process
When Americans divorce, they are generally bound by the standard that all so-called marital property acquired during marriage must be divided equitably. This rule applies to income, real estate, physical property and any other assets that are classified as marital property by the court. Of course, there are exceptions to this broad rule. But in general, each spouse tends to leave the marriage with half of any assets acquired during the duration of the union. The process of equitable division of property during divorce is meant to best ensure that each spouse affected is given a fair divorce settlement, which is a noble goal.
But unfortunately, the practical realities of equitable division often leave each spouse struggling to make ends meet in the wake of the divorce process. Now, not only is each spouse compelled to run a separate household filled with furniture and food, powered by electricity and subject to taxes, each is forced to make this arrangement work with access to only half of the resources he or she ordinarily operates with. Similarly, each spouse is forced to rethink their estate planning process now that they only have access to half of their property. This is one of the many reasons why it is helpful to speak with an estate planning lawyer Chandler, AZ recently divorced spouses depend after a divorce is finalized.
It is therefore of little wonder that many Americans who have been immediately impacted by divorce are struggling to save and pay for retirement. Saving for and paying for retirement are already overwhelming processes, but adding to the challenges associated with them by cutting access to marital resources in half makes these prospects even more daunting. This is often especially true for individuals who have been married for a minimum of several years.
When income, retirement accounts, furniture, and even dishes are all shared, each spouse faces the reality of having to build back up each depleted resource while operating on less income and with less access to property than before. They must also navigate what this reduction in property means for their estate planning needs.
It is worth noting that although spouses are generally held to a standard of equitable division of marital property, not all retirement accounts are simply split down the middle. As long as all marital property is equitably split in total, spouses may generally choose to divide their property in any number of creative ways.
For example, one spouse may choose to keep access to the couple’s 401(k) account, pension and IRA while the other spouse keeps sole ownership of the marital home. It is ultimately important to speak with an estate planning lawyer Chandler, AZ clients rely on about the ways in which a specific property division scheme may affect retirement and estate planning considerations, as some assets may appreciate more over time, etc. But in general, spouses tend to be affected by the loss of half of their marital property regardless of how that property is divided.
Other Reasons To Update Your Estate Plan
If you have an estate plan in place, then you have already begun on the right path. However, if you don’t, then we encourage you to get started writing your first draft with help from an estate planning lawyer Chandler, AZ residents trust for estate planning advice. In general, it is recommended that you review and update your estate plan documents as needed every 3-5 years. Reasons that you may need to update your documents sooner than that would be if any of the following occur:
Children Have Been Born Into The Family
If there is a newborn baby in your family and you want to ensure that your children or grandchildren are taken care of in the future, then this is a reason you will need to update your estate plan. Perhaps you already have a certain percentage you are allocating to each of your children or grandchildren, this means you will need to update the percentage for all of them in order to give room for the new baby to have an inheritance.
An estate plan commonly has children, whether adopted, biological, or stepchildren, listed as beneficiaries of the estate. The only exception would be if you want to disinherit someone. If you wish to disinherit a spouse or child, you have to do more than simply leave them out of the will. You will need assistance from an estate planning attorney from the Citadel Law Firm, PPLC for this task, as we can review and offer suggestions for the disinheritance provision. If you do not include this provision, then later on after you have passed away, that individual may be able to file a complaint and attempt to pursue a portion of your estate.
Lastly, don’t forget to appoint a guardian for your children. As relationships change and mold throughout the years, you may realize that the guardian you originally chose is no longer able to fulfill the duty if it were to arise, or you just prefer another person to take on that role instead.
Updating Names of Beneficiaries
If you wish to change your beneficiaries, you have to do this in every area of your current estate plan documents. If you have a complex estate plan, you may need help weaving through the wording to confirm that all the necessary changes have been made. For instance, if you change your beneficiaries then you must also inform your retirement plan provider. Any benefit programs with beneficiaries listed on them must match with your estate plan documents to avoid issues.
If any of your listed beneficiaries pass away before you, we suggest revising the plan to redistribute your assets. A estate planning lawyer Chandler, AZ families trust understands that this can be an emotional task, especially if the beneficiary who passed was someone you cherished deeply. We can help with the paperwork side of things as to help alleviate the weight of the task.
Legal Help Is Available
If you have concerns about the ways in which divorce may affect property division of your marital assets generally or how your divorce may impact your retirement and estate planning needs specifically, please do not hesitate to reach out to our law firm. Speaking with an estate planning lawyer Chandler, AZ residents trust at the Citadel Law Firm, PLLC will give you a better sense of how divorce may impact your situation and will provide you with the ability to make truly informed choices moving forward.